Prosthetic devices: Challenges and implications of robotic implants and biological interfaces

J. C.K. Lai, M. P. Schoen, A. Perez Gracia, D. S. Naidu, S. W. Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

45 Scopus citations


Although among designs of prosthetics there have been some successes in the design of functional robotic implants, there remain many issues and challenges concerned with the failure to meet the 'ideal' requirements of a satisfactory prosthetic. These 'ideals' require the device to be easy to control, comfortable to wear, and cosmetically pleasing. Because the literature on prosthetics and robotic implants are voluminous, this review focuses on four topics to determine key challenges and opportunities underlying these interdisciplinary research areas: firstly, an artificial hand as a biomimetic; secondly, prosthetic implants (electromyography signals and control); thirdly, prosthetic implants and tissue reactions to the material(s) of implants; fourthly, how inflammatory responses of cells and tissues surrounding implanted sensors interfere with the signal transmission of such sensors. This review also notes the importance of the biological interfaces that robotic implants and other prosthetic devices are in contact with and how an improved knowledge of pathophysiological changes at such biological interfaces will lead to improved and more biocompatible designs of prosthetics. This review concludes with the vision that, to develop a design that satisfies the above 'ideals', an interdisciplinary team of biomedical and tissue engineers, and biomaterial and biomedical scientists is needed to work together holistically and synergistically.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-183
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007



  • Artificial hand
  • Biocompatibility
  • Electromyography signals and control
  • Functional prosthetic
  • Inflammatory responses of cells to implanted material
  • Interference of cells and tissues with implanted sensors
  • Nanomaterials
  • Prosthetics
  • Robotic hand
  • Robotic implants
  • Toxicity

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